Keep your spine feeling fine: Do’s and dont’s for a healthy spine
Have you ever taken a moment to consider the crucial role your spine plays in your life?
This sturdy column of bones in your back, or your spine, is more than just a structural component of your body – it’s a core pillar of your well-being and the foundation of every move you make. Ensuring a healthy spine is vital to leading a vibrant, dynamic, and fulfilling life.
The spine is an intricate structure comprising 33 individual bones stacked neatly one upon another, creating the spine’s characteristic curve, or the “healthy spine shape”. This unique shape, resembling a soft “S”, provides our body with balance, stability, and flexibility. It provides the main support for your skeletal system while housing and protecting the central nervous system of your body, the vitally important spinal cord.
Allowing you to stand and sit, bend and twist, a healthy spine is something which is essential to living an active life. It’s flexible, strong, and not burdened by discomfort or pain. It’s a spine that’s in alignment, allowing optimal communication between your brain and body, paving the way for overall health and wellness.
Nothing impedes your quality of movement like a sore back, so maintaining the muscles and ligaments which surround the spine is essential to ensuring your fitness and mobility. Here are a few dos and don’ts for helping keep this important part of your body in good shape.
Don’t sit it out
One of the worst things for the lumbar region – or lower back – is extended periods of sitting down. The discs in your lower spine take three times more pressure when you sit than when you stand, so try to break up long stretches of sitting by standing up and moving around. Pay extra attention to your posture when you are working at the computer, as slouching can be a real killer for the neck and shoulder areas that connect to the spine.
Do sleep easy
Don’t underestimate the importance of a supportive mattress and pillow in maintaining a healthy spine. Saggy, uneven mattresses are bad news for this crucial area and can actually end up doing damage to your back! Select a mattress and pillow that will support your spine while you sleep.
It pays to take into account the way you sleep to choose the right mattress for your sleeping position. Did you know that unless you have the correct support, sleeping on your stomach can put extra pressure on your spine? Where possible, try to sleep on your back or your side to allow your spine the best rest.
Don’t let your shoes let you down
Your choice of shoe can affect your whole body, the spine included. It’s really important to consider how much support the heel of your shoe offers: it should fit snugly and prevent pronation or supination, where the feet roll too far in or out. If you find that you consistently wear out one side of your shoe or sole, it may be worth investigating whether your feet could benefit from orthotics to help keep your spine in alignment.
Do stretch and move
One of the best things you can do for a healthy spine is to stay active. A routine that combines stretching, flexibility, strengthening and aerobic activity is essential for working all the muscles which help support your spine. Exercise also helps you to stay in shape, as excess weight can throw the alignment of your spine out and put extra stress on your lower back. Add a regular massage after exercise to help your muscles relax, while also promoting blood flow and repair in this crucial area.
Do go for regular check-ups
Routine spinal check-ups can help identify and address potential issues before they become problematic. a2z Health Group has extensive experience in back pain, and offers comprehensive treatments and preventative measures to ensure a healthy back.
Spine health and stability in your older years
It’s worth noting that the importance of a healthy spine extends beyond our individual health and touches on the broader scope of community health, specifically in the realm of aged care. As we age, the spine naturally undergoes changes that can lead to discomfort and limit mobility. By proactively taking care of our spine health, we not only safeguard our well-being but also enable a more comfortable and healthier ageing process.
At a2z Health Group, we’re committed to delivering top-tier care to our senior community members. We provide a comprehensive range of services, from preventative strategies to managing and mitigating existing spinal issues. Visit our aged care page to learn more about how we are making a difference in the lives of our older community members.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Your spine, your healthy spine, is your lifeline. It’s the pillar that supports you, literally and metaphorically, in each step you take. Investing in your spine’s health isn’t just about preventing back pain; it’s about promoting a higher quality of life. It’s about learning how to keep a healthy spine for life and embracing the benefits it brings to your well-being.
Remember, the path to a healthy spine is a lifelong journey and not a destination. And every journey starts with a single step. Take that step today, for your spine and for your life.
Your spine is essential for your participation in a healthy, active life – keep your spine happy, and it will serve you well for years to come!
Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Melbourne University. Since then, he has had over 21 years of experience as a physiotherapist and is also a qualified D.M.A. Clinical Pilates Practitioner.